Kaizen, or Kai Zen, is Japanese and stands for ‘continuous improvement’. This means: How can we improve / adjust our products and / or services so that the customer is satisfied and we stay ahead of the competition? Some of such changes require great efforts; which means months of hard work and dedication. But often undervalued is ‘Kaizen’ or the long-term approach to improving systems through small, sustained changes in processes in order to improve efficiency and quality.
The Six Stages of Kaizen
Kaizen has six steps in the continuous improvement process. The focus is on mapping out waste, inflexibility and uncertainties within the process. A kaizen with the following six clear steps ensures lasting results and motivated employees.
Map out the process, look for information in flowcharts and other work instructions. Make sure to describe your goal as clearly as possible, so that misunderstandings can be prevented. After that ensure that your employees are well trained in the process.
Collect data by looking at the management system. A well organized management system like Qooling can ensure that data can be easily retrieved, so you can effortlessly see what’s going on in your organization at any time.
Analyze the collected data by using the 5 Why & 2 How model. This tool forces you to really think about what went wrong and how to improve it. Learn more about this methodology here.
Search for new, better ways to do the same work or achieve the same results. Look for smarter, more efficient routes to get to the same goal that boosts productivity.
After you have improved your process successfully, make sure that the changes are documented and made part of the clearly defined process, so that everyone using the process can benefit.
The circle of continuous improvement states that after completing the steps, you then repeat the cycle by making another small improvement.
The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process is an easy approach to dealing with issues and problems that you face. It is a systematic way to approach a problem with clearly defined steps so that an individual or team always have a clear grip on the process.